The think tank that I chose to look into was the Council on Competitiveness, which is a privately funded think-tank based in Washington D.C. Their self-stated purpose is that they are “CEO’s, university presidents and labor leaders working to ensure U.S. prosperity.”

This think tank was founded in 1986, during a time in which the United States was facing severe economic challenges. The Council’s website states that because the US had slid from the world’s largest creditor to its largest debtor, along with the rising challenges of American corporations losing losing market share to foreign competitors, two dozen men joined together to create the Council of Competitiveness, which was to serve as a forum about elevating our economic competitveness worldwide.

The Council recognized early that the world was transforming into a truly global economy. We were not the dominant economic force that we once were earlier in the 20th century; while we were still quite wealthy, we had serious competition in the world of technology and innovation. In order for American citizens and corporations to continue to succeed in this new economy, it is vital that we understand the new challenges facing us. This is the Council of Competitiveness’s true purpose and main focus: in order for the US to continue to be a global leader, it has to adjust to the rapidly changing global landscape.  One of the council’s major pitches is that innovation and entreprenuership are vital for the United States. This short blurb prefaces that idea, and provides links to innovation initiatives and research projects about how we can improve in this area, and is just one of the ideas that the Council has come up with.

Based on what I found in research, along with how I prefer to work, I would definitely choose to work for a privately-funded think tank. The idea of private funding means that the leaders of the think tank can run and operate it how they choose. They can decide what topics to pursue, not the government or a larger institution. First of all, I think that researching what you want, and not what others want, is the most effective method to get results. It is much easier to be enthusiastic about your ideas, not the ideas fed to you by a corporate boss. Secondly, I believe that a researcher for a private think tank would have the most workplace freedom and flexability. This goes along with my first point, and although there will always be outliers, by combining those two ideas I believe that a private think tank would be the most efficient and most enjoyable to work for.

Because of my desire to work for a private think tank, if I were to start one it I would definitely be privately funded. A subject that I would like to further explore and research would be alternatives to our dwindling natural resources, specifically fresh water. Las Vegas, Nevada is projected to begin running out of fresh water within 15 years and the rest of our country is not too far behind, especially in the desert regions. The fact is that we need alternative ways to produce drinking water, and all we really have to go on right now is desalination tanks, which are very expensive and not very efficient. This problem of a lack of drinking water will become relevant eventually, and I think it would be a good idea to get started on the solutions.

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4 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    What kind of policies dies the CoC advocate for?

  2. Claire McCardell says:

    What I found most interesting about your post was the fact that this think tank was created so long ago (1986); to me, it seems that just recently the issue of the United States’ declining global position & deficit gained hype. I always believed that the global environment following the end of the Cold War was considered unipolar with the United States as the sole superpower. I’d be curious to learn more about the projects and initiatives this think tank has advocated for, and how their agenda might have changed as America’s global reputation has continued to decline while our national debt has rose.

  3. Mike M says:

    I think this is an interesting think tank to explore since the issues it focuses on seem to have recently been brought back to the forefront in America. When the stock market crashed in 2008, people began to question the strength of America’s economy and position in the global marketplace in the aftermath of the crash. During this period of time, the issue of economic dominance became a major question so the CoC likely saw a boost in business essentially as the issues they study became the major issues in America at the time. Since we have yet to fully recover from that economic crisis, the CoC is likely still working to find and suggest ways to improve the current economic situation in America.

  4. Marc says:

    This is definitely a think tank that would be important again. Most of the people have already commented on how these topics have come to the forefront again in the US, with the stock market crash and bubbles bursting recently. I think the part that caught my eye the most was when you mentioned that the US had transitioned from the largest creditor to the largest debtor in 1986. This took me off guard because I always figured that our deficit had been more of a recent trend and 1986 seems like forever ago. It’s very interesting to see a privately funded organization taking such an initiative in this regard.

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